Monroe's dress from JFK birthday performance up for
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[September 08, 2016]
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The
skin-tight dress Marilyn Monroe wore for her sultry
rendition of "Happy Birthday" before then U.S. President
John F. Kennedy at a 1962 gala will go on sale at an
auction in November, the company behind the event said
Jean Louis designed the dress covered in sequins that Monroe,
one of the 20th century's most famous sex symbols, wore when she
shed her fur coat in a splashy entrance at Madison Square Garden
in New York.
With its color matching her skin tone, the dress, which was so
tight that Monroe had to be sewn into it, gave the impression
she was nude.
The breathless performance Monroe gave for Kennedy of the song
"Happy Birthday to You" at the May 19, 1962, fundraiser for the
Democratic Party 10 days before the president's actual birthday
is remembered for its sultriness and because it was one of her
last public appearances.
The star of the films "Some Like it Hot" and "Gentlemen Prefer
Blondes" died of a drug overdose less than three months later.
Beverly Hills-based Julien's Auctions will offer the dress for
sale at an auction on Nov. 17 in Los Angeles, the company said
in a statement.
The late fund manager Martin Zweig bought the dress in 1999 for
$1.26 million at a Christie's auction, said Darren Julien,
president and chief executive of Julien's Auctions.
Zweig, who saw the dress as an investment, kept it in a
climate-controlled display case mounted on a mannequin, Julien
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His estate is offering the dress for auction and it is expected to
sell for at least $2 million, Julien said.
"It's like the equivalent of a Monet, just because of its historic
significance and its connection to one of the most important
actresses of our time," Julien said in a phone interview.
Ironically, given her death later that year, actor Peter Lawford
jokingly introduced Monroe at the New York event in 1962 as the
"late Marilyn Monroe," because she had a reputation for being tardy.
Monroe's song was to mark Kennedy's 45th birthday, which was to
occur a couple weeks later. The president was assassinated the
The dress is one of many items from Monroe's life which Julien's
Auctions will offer for auction on Nov. 17 through 19. Monroe would
have been 90 years old this year.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Alan Crosby)
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